Life Health & Wellbeing

Saturday 25 February 2017

Scented candles could cause cancer according to new research

Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Scented candles could cause cancer, according to new research
Scented candles could cause cancer, according to new research

Scientists have warned that households using scented candles or other perfumed products could be increasing their risk of cancer.

Professor Alastair Lewis of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science in York, England looked at the presence of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in six similar homes over 5 days.

Limonine was the chemical found in the highest levels.  It's a chemical used to give a citrus smell to scented candles, cleaning products and air fresheners.

The houses using the msot cleaning products had the highest levels of limonine, which is harmless by itself, but when it combines with ozone - in the air - it forms formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.

The findings were broadcast on BBC2 show Trust Me I'm a Doctor, and Professor Lewis warned that houses should be adequately ventilated, especially during winter, to prevent the accumulation of unhealthy levels of formaldehyde in the air.

Another solution offered by the team of scientists was to have more house plants including English ivy, lavender and geraniums, as they reduce the amount of formaldehyde in the air.

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